Fallout intensifies over Trump's response to Capitol riot

By Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 4:04 p.m. ET, January 9, 2021
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8:43 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

Democrats plan to introduce impeachment articles against Trump as soon as Monday. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's  Lauren Fox, Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Daniella Diaz

President Donald Trump arrives at a rally near the White House on January 6.
President Donald Trump arrives at a rally near the White House on January 6. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

House Democrats are planning to introduce an impeachment resolution on Monday, a move that would allow Democrats to fast-track an impeachment vote next week, though Democrats have not committed yet to holding such a vote. The latest draft of the impeachment resolution, obtained by CNN, includes one article of impeachment for "incitement of insurrection."

But Democrats are cognizant of the fact they have little time to force Trump out of office and moving forward with impeachment could force the Senate to hold an impeachment trial in the first days of the new Biden administration, which would amount to a major distraction from the new President's ambitious new agenda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus on a call Friday afternoon that she prefers Trump resigning or Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from power. But she made clear that if that does not happen, impeachment is another option. There is more backing within the House Democratic caucus for impeaching Trump now than there was in 2019 when Trump was first impeached, Pelosi said, according to multiple sources on the call.

"The President chose to be an insurrectionist," Pelosi said, according to one source said. "How we go forward is a subject for this caucus."

Pelosi began the call solemn and emotional about the events that have transpired over the last 72 hours. She did not give a sense of timing or details on potential articles of impeachment, but she made clear the House has the power to impeach even with less than two weeks left in Trump's term. Democrats also discussed the possibility of creating a commission to examine Trump's fitness for office through the 25th Amendment, an option that could be used as an alternative to impeachment.

As Pelosi and her leadership team ran through their options Thursday night, the overwhelming sentiment was that impeachment was the way forward, according to multiple sources. While there were some dissenters concerned that the move could be perceived as an overreach and turn off Trump supporters in their districts, the view among most top Democrats — including Pelosi — is that Trump should be held accountable for his actions.

8:47 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

Trump said he's skipping the inauguration. Here's how Biden responded.

From CNN's Eric Bradner

President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 7.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 7. Susan Walsh/AP

President-elect Joe Biden said President Donald Trump's decision to skip his inauguration is "one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on."

"It's a good thing, him not showing up," Biden told reporters Friday in Wilmington, Delaware, at a news conference after he introduced Cabinet nominees.

"He exceeded even my worst notions about him. He's been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world. He's not worthy to hold that office," Biden said.

However, Biden said he is glad Vice President Mike Pence will attend his inauguration.

"He's welcome. I think it's important that as much as we can stick to what have been the historical precedents of how an administration changes should be maintained. And so Mike, the vice president, is welcome to come. We'd be honored to have him there, and to move forward in the transition," Biden said.

House Democrats are preparing articles of impeachment, expected to be introduced as soon as Monday. The President-elect did not weigh in on whether Congress should impeach Trump and remove him from office over his actions leading up to his supporters' riot at the Capitol this week.

He said he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are focused on preparing their agenda to combat the coronavirus pandemic and bolster a battered economy.

Biden said there's no doubt he wants Trump, who he called "one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America," out of office as soon as possible. He said if Trump had several months left in office, he would push for his impeachment. Now, though, Biden said, "The quickest way that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th. What action happens before or after that is a judgment for Congress to make."